15 March 2006
At the request of the traditional owners, the Director of National Parks will close the Uluru climb for one day on Thursday 16 March, as a mark of respect for an elder who has passed away.
The Chairman of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management, Donald Fraser, has asked for understanding by visitors on Thursday.
Park Manager Rowan Foley said the traditional owners had requested the closure of the climb to uphold Tjukurpa, Anangu law, where access to sacred places is restricted during periods of mourning.
"This mark of respect upholds Uluru-Kata Tjuta's World Heritage cultural values, based on Aboriginal customs alive today that date back tens of thousands of years," Rowan Foley said.
"In respect for these customs, we cannot name the person who passed away or show her face during this sorry period.
"All other parts of the park will be open as usual. Visitors will be able to drive around Uluru and undertake the spectacular walk around the base.
"At 8 am they can join a ranger-guided tour of the Mala Walk which will start in the car park at the base of Uluru."
Since 1985 when the Park was handed back to the traditional owners, the climb has been closed three times for cultural reasons. It is also closed for safety reasons in very hot or wet weather.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1994, as an outstanding example of traditional human land use and for its living traditions and beliefs of outstanding universal significance. The park is run under Joint Management by the Australian Government and the traditional owners.
For further information please contact Margot Marshall on 0418 624 847.